View full screen - View 1 of Lot 177. Very Fine and Rare William and Mary Line-and-Berry-Inlaid Walnut Bible Box, probably London Grove area, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Dated 1776.
177

Very Fine and Rare William and Mary Line-and-Berry-Inlaid Walnut Bible Box, probably London Grove area, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Dated 1776

Estimate:

25,000 - 35,000 USD

Very Fine and Rare William and Mary Line-and-Berry-Inlaid Walnut Bible Box, probably London Grove area, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Dated 1776

Very Fine and Rare William and Mary Line-and-Berry-Inlaid Walnut Bible Box, probably London Grove area, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Dated 1776

Estimate:

25,000 - 35,000 USD

Bid:

18,000

USD

Live auction begins in:

Live auction begins in:

6 days, 7 hours

6 days, 7 hours

Very Fine and Rare William and Mary Line-and-Berry-Inlaid Walnut Bible Box

probably London Grove area, Chester County, Pennsylvania

Dated 1776


With banded locust inlay surrounding a flowering tree and pinwheel geometric designs, flanked by the inlaid initials MB and the date 1776.

Height 10 1/2 in. by Width 19 3/8 in. by Depth 12 3/8 in.

Purportedly descended through the Branson family;
Herbert Branson Spackman (1900-1969) and Kathryn Dunlap Glauser (b. 1904), Thornbury Farm, Chester County, Pennsylvania;
Thomas Spackman (1937-2011);
David Stockwell, Inc., Wilmington, Delaware.
Jeanmarie Andrews, “Line and Berry Furniture.” Early American Life (May/June 2021): p. 31.

With the initials of its original owner and date it was made, this walnut document box is a rare survival of line-and-berry furniture made in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. The distinctive type of inlay seen here was introduced in the early 1700s likely by Welsh Quakers who emigrated to Philadelphia before moving to the Chester County area.1 Furniture with line-and-berry inlay was especially favored by Quaker families living in Chester County, where chests of drawers, spice boxes, and small lidded boxes were the most popular forms among the 150 pieces that have been identified.2 Nearly all were made before the American Revolution.


This document box has inlaid tombstone cartouches enclosing the initials “MX” and date “1776” flanking a line-and-berry sprig and a pair of fylfots all within an elaborate herringbone border. It rests on ball feet rather than bracket feet found elsewhere during the period – likely the choice of the original owner. The fact that this box shares similarities in form and inlay with line and berry document boxes made over thirty years earlier indicates the longevity of the design and conservatism of the clientele.3


Thornbury Farm, first built in 1709, is the site of the final troop engagement of the Battle of Brandywine, the largest land and one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution.4


1 Lee Ellen Griffith, “Line-and-Berry Inlaid Furniture: A Regional Craft Tradition in Pennsylvania, 168201790” (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1988). See also Lee Ellen Griffith, “The Line-and-Berry Inlaid Furniture of Eighteenth-Century Chester County, Pennsylvania,” The Magazine Antiques 135, no. 5 (May 1989): 1202-11.

2 Wendy Cooper and Lisa Minardi. Paint, Pattern & People: Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725-1850 (Winterthur, DE: The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 2011): 71. See also Jeanmarie Andrews, “Line and Berry Furniture,” Early American Life (May/June 2021): 27.

3 Jack L. Lindsey, Worldly Goods: The Arts of Early Pennsylvania, 1680-1758 (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1999): nos. 2, 3. And 4, p. 139, fig. 180, p. 114.

4 http://thornburyfarmcsa.com/history/.